Cast: Judi Silvano – soprano – role: Angelina Linda LoPresti – mezzo-soprano – role: Mother #2 (Greek chorus) Holly Durniak –contralto –role: Mother #3 (Greek chorus) Cynthia Izzo – babysitter (non-speaking), chorus member – role: Julia Artistic Staff: Bill Grossman, music director, conductor Stephen McCabe, stage director Liz Goodall, props designer Musicians: Mike Finkel, David Runnion – cellos Neil Swanson, Christopher Vassiliades – 4-hand-piano Film Editor, Audio Editor, Postproduction, Graphics: titles, subtitles, montages Brian O’Neill Videography: Vernita Nemec, Tequila Minsky
SYNOPSIS: Angelina, a poor Italian mother, returns home to her newborn baby. The babysitter, Julia, refuses to look at the baby because the neighbors say the child has the "evil eye". Angelina throws the babysitter out.
Angelina moves a large statue of the Virgin Mary to the kitchen table and appeals to her for help. She describes her life leading up to the birth of her baby girl. Acting as a Greek chorus, Mother-2 and Mother-3 join Angelina in singing about the health and beauty of the baby girl, but end by revealing that the baby has no legs or fingers.
Mother-2 and 3 take on the voice of the doctor who says sometimes these babies die. Angelina considers whether her baby would be better off dead. Desperately seeking a sign from the Virgin, Angelina receives none, and hysterically attacks the statue of the Madonna.
All music stops when the baby quietly coughs. Angelina runs to her baby and sings her a lullaby. Returning to the Madonna, she gently cries while holding the statue. In her despair she experiences an epiphany and envisions how to save her baby. She cleans the table, returns the broken pieces of the Madonna to her niche, flings open the windows, and yells "Help! Call a priest! There's been a miracle!"
Neighbors crowd into the room. She explains that the Virgin has made herself like her baby girl, that this is a sign the Virgin loves her baby. The opera ends with all singing "Let this baby live!"
The complete libretto, score and parts are available at: https://archive.org/details/MotherAndChildScoreAndLibretto_201904/mode/2up
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
The librettist RON WHYTE is regarded as "the most original American dramatic voice since Edward Albee" (David Richards, The Washington Post). With a focus on disability that is "taut and tough and cleaves the air of hypocrisy" (Clive Barnes, The New York Times) the plays of Ron Whyte contain dramatic conflicts that have a recognized history of drawing all audiences into reflection. In addition to being an internationally recognized playwright, Ron Whyte was involved in political activism, which included serving on President Nixon's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, as well as on the panel which drafted Section #504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, the sweeping law which for the first time granted civil rights to people with disabilities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Whyte
LEE McCLURE is possibly the most melodic composer of classical music in the last 50 years . JoAnn Falletta (Buffalo Philharmonic) has written about Lee’s Symphony No.1: “I listened and found it to be a really beautiful work. I am happy to have it and look forward to studying it” (2015). His orchestral piece Hiatus was declared as "the most distinguished piece on the program: the harmonies had bite and the musical ideas seemed both organic and Mr. McClure's own" (Tim Page, The New York Times, 1986). In 1985 in New York City Lee founded the Eclectix Chamber Orchestra which has presented the music of more than 130 living composers. Eclectix has stirred controversy by championing new music that is not minimal or atonal. The New York Times has written: “Devoted to Melody: Eclelctix, a group dedicated to presenting melodic music in the tradition of Debussy, Gershwin, and Ellington performs in New York (1989). “Most of this repertory grew out of a tonal, melody-accompaniment tradition, and a lot of it by way of American popular culture" (1988).
0:00 title credits 25:55 Now you are human 0:28 about the opera 27:10 Where is the sign? 1:15 How's the baby? 29:01 My poor baby 5:32 transition 31:16 Every baby is beautiful 7:14 When I was a girl 33:12 Why am I such a fool? 8:54 My husband 34:35 transition 11:33 Beautiful soul 35:16 Help! Call a priest 13;07 My baby has no legs 36:31 Her arms, her feet 14:36 She smiles 38:05 This is a sign 16:06 We are all Italian 40:22 I promise to love my baby 17:20 Even the men 44:27 Hail Mary full of grace 19:30 The doctor says 45:44 She looked down 22:03 You don't answer 46:30 end credits 24:09 You shall not